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Engineering News

What Are the Rules of Cyberwarfare?

We are now well into the era of cyberwarfare—the use of computers and computer networks in military, terrorist, and diplomatic conflicts.  But to judge by the recent tiff between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, neither the U. S. nor Russia has figured out exactly how to use these new weapons, or how to defend against them effectively. Last July, Wikileaks unleashed a flood of embarrassing emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, leading to the resignation of that…

Clifford Furnas and the Clouded Crystal Ball

In 1936, during the depths of the Great Depression, a professor of physical chemistry at Yale named Clifford C. Furnas published a book in which he tried to anticipate the next great advances in science and engineering during the following century.  His book was inspired by a visit he made to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933, otherwise known as the “Century of Progress Exposition,” which marked the 100-year anniversary of the founding of Chicago.  A lot of the technical…

Tumblr Engineering — Golang and The Tumblr API

You’ve been asking for an official Golang wrapper for the Tumblr API. The wait is over! We are thrilled to unveil two new repositories on our GitHub page which can be the gateway to the Tumblr API in your Go project. Why Two Repos We’ve tried to structure the wrapper in a way that is as flexible as possible so we’ve put the meat of the library in one repo that contains the code for creating requests and parsing the…

Are We Ready For an AI World?

The other day I was making some hotel reservations, and set them up with two different hotel chains.  One is universally pet-friendly (we often travel with a dog), and you can call the hotel you want to stay at and talk with the desk clerk directly to make your reservation.  The clerk gets into their reservation system and takes your information and usually there’s no problem, although if you call at a busy time it can be a little stressful…

How We Cleaned Up And Ranked Our Listeners’ Favorite Albums of 2016

All Songs Considered asks listeners for their favorite albums of 2016 At the beginning of December 2016, All Songs Considered followed a nice tradition and asked listeners for their favorite albums of 2016. Users could enter up to five different albums in a Google form, ranked according to their preferences. The poll was open for eight days and resulted in more than 4,500 entries. In the end, the All Songs Considered team wanted a ranked list of the best albums.…

A specific trick and a general habit for achieving fast computations – Wealthfront Engineering Blog

I recently worked on a computation involved in a client-facing projection graph. In order to delight our users, we wanted it to respond instantly to user interaction. However, there are two forces at play that make the calculation complicated: the consistent contributions of recurring deposits and the erratic motion of stock prices. We needed to calculate a variable of the form [y_t = sum_{i=0}^tsum_{j=0}^t a_ib_je^{k(t-max(i, j))}] for all months $t$ from 0 (today) to $T$ (retirement). This quantity $y_t$ is…

Open sourcing our Android and iOS apps! – Kickstarter Engineering

Today the Kickstarter engineering team is open sourcing our Android and iOS apps, and we’re excited about a future of working in the open. Native Squad enjoying the post-launch winter sunshine. Why open source? The native team at Kickstarter is responsible for building and maintaining features for Android and iOS. We focus on writing well-tested code built with parts that can be easily understood on their own, and to do that we’ve adopted many functional programming techniques. There have been a…

Leveraging Functional Programming & AWS Lambda to Drive ChatOps

In Operations Engineering at Kickstarter, we aim to ensure the health and sustained development of our website. A large part of that is making sure our engineers are getting the right information in a timely matter. For this reason we have started to embrace ChatOps. In this post, I will detail how Kickstarter is leveraging our use of AWS Lambda and embracing functional programming to drive our ChatOps infrastructure, and through that infrastructure drive development through conversation. Our developers often…

The relaunch of our engineering blog – Kickstarter Engineering

We, the Kickstarter engineering team, are happy to announce our latest migration: our engineering blog, from self-hosted to Medium. In 2013 we launched our blog to share our creativity, our mistakes, and our open source projects. We’ve had many great posts and discussions thus far, and today we move to Medium to engage more deeply with the community. For individuals and engineering teams alike, Medium provides a clean and easy way to publish, read, and share ideas. We are excited…

Presenting an Open Source Toolkit for Lightweight…

By Aasish Pappu, Roi Blanco, and Amanda Stent What’s the first thing you want to know about any kind of text document (like a Yahoo News or Yahoo Sports article)? What it’s about, of course! That means you want to know something about the people, organizations, and locations that are mentioned in the document. Systems that automatically surface this information are called named entity recognition and linking systems. These are one of the most useful components in text analytics as…